The Access Project student awards shine a light on our students who have gone above and beyond to make the grades they need to secure places at top universities.

The final student prize is the Professor Jeff Cash Award. The prize is named after Professor Jeff Cash, a mathematics professor who taught at Imperial College London. Friends and family of the professor donated funds raised in his memory last year to The Access Project.

Hannah Brown, daughter of Professor Cash, said: “Dad remained in education and lectured at Imperial College for his entire career. He spent a long time as an admissions tutor and I remember how it meant a lot to him to give people from all different backgrounds a chance. Dad was one of the most caring people you could meet so it meant a lot to him to be able to give students who may not necessarily have had the best start in life, but were ambitious and prepared to work hard, a chance to study at a world-renowned institution.”

Professor Jeff Cash Award winner

The Access Project student Hope

Hope, who finished Year 13 at Ashfield School, has won the Professor Jeff Cash award for being committed to their tutorials and their mentoring in school, for working hard to achieve their university place, and for exemplifying what The Access Project stands for. Hope recently started studying Natural Sciences BSc at University of Nottingham.

“The Access Project really helped me gain confidence and made me feel supported regarding my university application”, Hope said. “I’m eternally grateful for the opportunities and guidance they gave me through the process, and the support they continue to give.”

“My tutorials acted as my one act of normality and helped keep a bit of structure to my weeks.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a particularly challenging period for disadvantaged young people. 

“Personally, I really struggled with the lockdown,” Hope said. “I ended up in a bit of a pit and struggled to keep up with my work, instead opting to stay in bed all day and struggling to get up.” 

“However, I did manage to keep up with my tutorials. They acted as my one act of normality and helped keep a bit of structure to my weeks.”

“My tutor constantly comforted my worried self”

Hope went to Ashfield School and tutored in Physics during Years 12 and 13. Hope consistently maintained the highest rate of attendance in their year and had a fantastic relationship with their volunteer tutor.

“My tutor was amazing”, Hope said. “The way our sessions worked is that we would discuss my weak points and decide what we’d focus on for the next few weeks. We practiced exam questions together and she helped to apply context and alternative explanations, particularly for tricky questions.”

Hope worried about their exam performance. “I’d often find myself contacting my tutor after a hard exam, asking to go over a question. She also gave me general advice for my studies and helped me with my university application, with things like going over entrance exam questions related to Physics and giving interview advice.”

“Don’t be scared to contact your tutor or your University Access Officer”

Hope feels that The Access Project really helped them gain confidence and feel supported regarding their university application.

“Don’t be scared to contact your tutor or your University Access Officer, they’re really the nicest people. They are there to help, and if they can’t help they’ll point you in the right direction.” 

Hope thinks that it is very important for students to be open to communication with their tutor. “Don’t withhold your questions because no question is stupid, especially when it comes to the university application process. Messaging or emailing with your tutor is really important, because if you can’t make a session or need help with a question, it’s good to give them notice.”

“I just dream of doing a job I’m genuinely passionate about.”

Despite the academic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hope achieved excellent results, outperforming their Nottingham University offer by one whole grade. 

“I don’t have a definite dream job,” Hope told us, when we asked about their dreams for the future. “Instead, I just dream of doing a job I’m genuinely passionate about. I don’t quite know where the broad path of Natural Sciences will lead me yet, but I plan on enjoying the journey and finding where I want to go – probably towards something related to climate change.

The Access Project Student Award winners

From September 27 to October 1 we celebrated the achievements of our incredible young people through our student awards. Read our news to find out about the exceptional young people who won prizes this week.

Read our news